I remember having the best time reading “The Colour of Magic” as a 16 year old. I’d never read a book quite like it, especially since it was a fantasy book that poked fun at other fantasy books that I loved (I was a huge fan of the Dragonriders series, for example) without resorting to some of the more ‘obvious’ humour of other authors of the time, such as Piers Anthony.
Whilst, as a teenager I could only afford the paperback editions, I eagerly awaited every new book (and we didn’t have long to wait in those days) and spent many hours reading and chatting with mates about the latest ‘Pratchett’ in the 6th Form common room during free periods and breaks.
Like many, I think my first favourite book was ‘Mort’, (Let’s face it, how many of us loved the character of Death ever since he uttered that immortal line “DARK IN HERE, ISN’T IT”, or still better “I COULD MURDER A CURRY”). Many people loved ‘Wyrd Sisters’ immediately – I didn’t really like that one until a few years later.
One of my most vivid memories of first reading a ‘Pratchett’ novel was the time I read ‘Guards! Guards!’ whilst travelling to work on the train from Kidderminster to Birmingham. The book was (and still is) laugh-out-loud funny, and I got a lot of very strange looks from fellow passengers as I would read a couple of pages and then fight in vain to stifle my laughter, eventually finishing the journey with tears running down my face.
His books became a ‘must buy on day of publication’, and the ‘Discworld’ series especially has remained my firm favourite over the years. Everyone has their favourite characters – mine are Death and the City Watch.
I only managed to hear him speak once, at the Birmingham Science Fiction and Fantasy club (then run from the famous Andromeda Bookshop) in 1991 when he toured to promote ‘Reaper Man’ coming out in paperback. He was hugely entertaining and engaging (and not a little self deprecating) – the copy of ‘Reaper Man’ that he signed at the end of the evening is still in my ‘most treasured possessions’.
Most of us would hope that we would leave this world the better for us being in it. Terry Pratchett made a huge difference to my life, as well as the life of millions of others of his readers.
RIP Sir Terry. Thank you for the years of untold fun and laughter, but (as with the best fantasy fiction) the edge to make us think.
The last words his Twitter feed
“AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER.”
“Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.”